While the real Guzman is locked up in a cold, tiny jail cell in New York, his fictional version is free and doing well in Colombia.
But Guzman's re-arrest in 2016 - after two dramatic prison escapes has created a violent power struggle for his Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.
The gang bloodshed forced the flick's producers to film in Colombia, a country they believe is safer than Mexico.
Ironically, Colombia used to be the nucleus of the region's bloody drug violence.
The filming in Colombia was so secretive that the crew lied to locals that they were filming a mythical TV soap opera, "Dolores de Amor," which roughly translates to "The Pains of Love."
The Associated Press was present during one filming session in the Colombian town of Taibo. Several extras told the journalists they did not know the movie's theme.
At the time filming commenced, Guzman was still in Mexico. This was the main reason why the series' location was shifted.
"Colombia was a good option because we have well-trained crews and it is very similar to Mexico," said producer Daniel Posada.
The town of Taibo has a colonial town square, church, and park that look like they would be found in rural Mexico.
The effect will be enhanced during post-production by adjusting the intensity of the light to match Mexican skies.
Colombia could also provide less legal challenges.
Guzman employed a team of high-priced lawyers to file dozens of legal appeals in Mexico. One of the lawyers, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, advised that the film's producers could suffer legal consequences for using the drug lord's name and story without his authorization.
Posada, the producer, said he is yet to receive any threats.